We caught up with director James Ivory at this year’s San Francisco International Film Festival, where his film Maurice was screened. This is a highlight of a longer upcoming interview. In this clip Ivory shares how his interest in India developed and the first documentary he made on India called The Sword and the Flute. It was through this documentary that he came to meet actor Saeed Jaffrey and Ismail Merchant.
Ivory and his filmmaking partner Ismail Merchant through their Merchant Ivory Productions have made nearly 40 feature films. While neither Ivory nor Merchant have won an Oscar for their work as director or producer, their films have won them a handful of Oscars. Their repertoire of films include Howard’s End, Maurice, Heat and Dust, A Room With A View, Mr & Mrs Bridges, The Householder and others.
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Renowned and versatile actor Saeed Jaffrey passed away on November 14, 2015. The 86-year-old actor died of a brain hemorrhage in London according to the BBC.
A jewel of International cinema as Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian put it, Jaffrey got his start on radio and stage in India. In the 1950s he came to the US on a Fulbright scholarship to study acting at the Catholic University in Washington DC. While he did find much work as an artist in the US, it was in the UK that he found success both on TV and in films.
Jaffrey worked with David Lean, John Houston, Richard Attenborough and other prominent filmmakers. The first Indian film that Jaffrey acted was Satyajit Ray’s Shatranj Ke Khiladi released in 1977. He then went on to act in other Indian and Bollywood films.
He was married to Madhur Jaffrey and they divorced in 1966. The couple have 3 daughters. In 1980 he married Jennifer Sorrell.
Jaffrey’s autobiography is called An Actor’s Journey. Here is a list of Jaffrey’s films.
Here are some wonderful tributes to the actor from The Washington Post, BBC and The Guardian